3. What to do: Response options

DRR should be mainstreamed into all of CARE’s programmes to ensure that we are working to reduce disaster risks before any crisis. This requires a wide range of activities as outlined in the draft policy in section 6.1. As a minimum, COs should ensure the following:

3.1.1 Undertake a process of emergency preparedness planning

Guidance on how to conduct emergency preparedness planning is available at Annex 34.2 CARE International emergency preparedness planning (EPP) guidelines. CARE’s EPP guidelines are based on DRR principles and involve situational or hazard analysis, and capacity and vulnerabilities analysis. Based on this analysis, the EPP should identify feasible measures to mitigate, prepare and respond to disasters. The EPP guidelines provide the following questions to plan mitigation and preparedness measures:

 Mitigation and preparedness measures checklist

Mitigation measures-key questions to consider

  • What can be done to diminish consequences in terms of mitigation?
  • What are the underlying causes of vulnerability that contribute to the probability of the risk unfolding? (economic, social, environmental and/or physical)
  • Can CARE advocate for change before an event? Is disaster risk reduction part of national development agendas? Is CARE or its partners in a position to advocate such an effort?
  • What current CARE programmes work, or could work, towards mitigating the risk in question? Do CARE programmes integrate disaster risk reduction thinking?
  • What can be done with government, partners and communities to mitigate risk? How is CARE engaging communities and local authorities to analyse their risks?
  • What type of analysis can contribute to identify ways to lower the effect of the risk situation?

Preparedness measures-key questions to consider

  • What can be done to prepare the community for a disaster?
  • What are traditional community contingencies?
  • What are the official emergency preparedness and response mechanisms and how can these support community preparedness?
  • What media can be used to warn communities of an impending event?
  • What role could advocacy play in reducing consequences?
  • What preparation does CARE need particularly in functional areas? (human resources, logistics, communications, etc.)

3.1.2 Identify opportunities to mainstream DRR throughout CARE’s programmes

Disasters can destroy the positive achievements of years of CARE’s development programmes. All of CARE’s programmes should mainstream DRR by examining existing risks and how a disaster would impact on the partner community, and the project’s objectives and achievements. CARE’s programmes can then identify and build in measures that strengthen capacities and reduce vulnerabilities, reduce the exposure of communities and project assets to hazards, and prepare partner communities and project teams for how they will deal with a disaster if it occurs.

3.1.3 Pursue targeted community-based disaster risk reduction programming in partnership with high-risk communities

In areas of particularly high risk to disasters, COs should pursue explicit community-based disaster risk reduction programmes, and build in disaster risk reduction efforts in their relationship and collaboration with these communities. Emergencies usually present opportunities for funding, while affected communities are more receptive to disaster risk reduction actions. COs should be quick in taking advantage of these opportunities. CARE has increasing global experience in Community-based DRR. There is a wide range of tools and guidelines available to support COs with this kind of programming (see sections 8 and 9).

DRR mainstreaming in emergency response project cycle management

Disaster risk reduction is mainstreamed in emergency response through the project cycle management approach. Based on risk assessments, appropriate risk reduction measures should be incorporated in the design of the response. CARE experience in incorporating disaster risk reduction in thematic sectors such as shelter, food security and livelihoods and WASH is developing well. The monitoring, evaluation and learning plan for the response should also look closely at how the response impacts on the risks, and watch out for the possible development of new risks in order for the response to adjust to the situation. Mainstreaming disaster risk reduction in the response ensures that people and communities will cope with, and recover from a disaster, and manage future emergencies in a more effective and sustainable way.

Shelter rebuilding

In the emergency response and recovery work following typhoon Haiyan, households received high-quality shelter repair kits and were trained on “build back safer” (BBS) techniques developed with the Shelter Cluster. BBS consisted of eight key messages that dealt with sound construction practices including bracing, connections, pitch of the roof and spacing of nails, and rebuilding of houses in safe locations. Shelter roving teams composed of community members were organized to assist households repair or rebuild their houses. Building on traditional practice, households were organized into mutual-support groups to help each other in the repair or rebuilding activities.

Agricultural practices

Following severe droughts in Africa, farming communities have been stripped of their livelihood and source of nutrition. Drought-resistant crops introduced in emergency response programmes have contributed to improved food security and livelihoods among the affected communities.

In the Philippines, due to chronic typhoons and floods, and occasional droughts, disaster-affected communities have been taught to plan their food security and livelihood recovery activities guided by seasonal calendars. These calendars have been updated to account for changes in the climate and the ecosystem. Farm inputs such as seeds and tools, as well as training, were provided to assist households diversify livelihood activities. Diversification, to include planting of disaster-resistant crops, is an important strategy to strengthen resilience of livelihoods. Sustainable agriculture practices, soil conservation techniques, and simple community mitigation activities are also introduced.

Saving for the future

Microfinance programmes successfully encourage entrepreneurship among poor people, especially groups of women. However, in Bangladesh, a country prone to natural disasters (especially floods), female microfinance participants often found themselves in debt once the flood had subsided and they were expected to pay back their loans. The floods often washed away their income-generating assets along with their savings that were typically stored in a box or under their sleeping mats. Part of an emergency response was to open bank accounts to prevent the loss of savings in future floods.